Dealing with death in the digital age
Dealing with death in the digital age is a screening from the artist Sara Pace.
Death strikes everyone, even our online persona. Death poses problems to those in the immediate family and friend circle, creating existential and cultural crisis. Which can be destructive to the collective group; family, friend or colleague. Social theories on death though place it as a form of social integration, as part of the normal, downplaying its potential to cause chaos, and yet not preparing the human psyche for what it really is. This installation explores how people on the internet deal with death, through the artist’s own experience of death over the past year, noting messages, photographs, status postings on social media, emails and her interactions with friends and family during the shock, grieving and transformation of her thought process. The artist dealt with death on 8 occasions in one year: firstly, just after the beginning of the year, and then through the months of the year 2017, with a grouping of four deaths within a couple of weeks towards the end of the year, aggregated around her own 30th birthday. This put her through a personal, psychological crisis - causing her to worry about her own health, and the reason behind life. Struggling to make a meaningful and ongoing understanding of death, and how memory, sustained by social media memories, does not accept death in today’s world, making life a repetition of memories while transforming the person into a thing of the present-past. The ambiguities that these photos, messages, voice recordings create when they pop-up on particular days in the months after the passing of these persons creates a pseudo life, as though one has not passed on at all, but lives on through the internet and the digital. The process was a disorderly and agonizing exploratory period, which verged on the disintegration of the artist’s expressive ability.